Designer Spotlight: Adventure Du Jour

Today we have two designers! Debbi and Marcy’s design business is Adventure Du Jour. You may have seen their beautiful Tool Box Hat, Cowl, or Mitts. They are beautiful colorwork patterns that are fun to put together!

Loopy: Thank you both for joining us! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Debbi: I’ve been knitting since I was about 7. My grandmother taught me to knit while I was spending time with her one summer. My first projects were garter stitch headbands. I must have knit a dozen of them!

Marcy: I’ve been a knitter going on 34+ years. My parents were thrilled when I went away to college and came home first semester at Thanksgiving with my new skill of knitting and an Icelandic wool sweater. I like to say I’ve been a knitter with a K for the past 15 years when it progressed from hobby, to obsession and now profession.

Loopy: It’s always so fun to hear about the first projects you work on! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Debbi: My favorite thing to knit is whatever I am currently working on. That being said, I do love accessories. My wardrobe tends to be made up of mostly black, gray and white so I love to add something special with color in my accessories.

Marcy: I’m pretty fickle in terms of my favorite things to knit. I will say that I like fast knits, whether garments or accessories. My favorite thing to knitting is whatever I’m working on at the time.

Loopy: Our favorite project is the one we’re working on too! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Debbi: My biggest challenge was a sweater called Bel Air by Anne Hanson. I took a two day class from Anne on how to create a sweater with your perfect fit. With the front of the sweater being an all over lace pattern there was a lot of math to get the sweater to fit me just right. Needless to say, it is also the piece that fits me the best!

Marcy: Of all the projects I’ve knit, sweaters are most challenging because of the decisions and modifications that need to be made in order to get the perfect fit. It’s so gratifying wearing a sweater I’ve knit.

Loopy: Anne is a wonderful teacher and sweaters are the best! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Debbi: I started designing in April of 2008 when I designed the Funky Sock Monkey. From there I began designing pieces inspired by the people, places and things in my life. My first accessory piece was a cabled cowl inspired by my mother. I named it Patricia after her and knit one for each of my daughters for Christmas that year. I’ve been hooked on designing ever since.

Marcy: I begin designing in 2010 after a few years as a sample knitter and knitting on consignment. I just figured since I knew what I liked and often needed to change things, I should just designed it myself. In 2015 Debbi and I began Adventure Du Jour Designs because we realized it was more fun and productive working together.

Loopy: How fun! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Debbi: I think I’d have to say that my favorite pattern(s) that I’ve designed would have to be our Tool Box Collection. The use of color and texture has always been a big part of my designing process and these three pieces are now my go to gift items.

Marcy: The favorite pattern that Debbi and I have designed is the Tool Box Cowl and Collection. What makes it my favorite is that judging by its popularity people feel empowered to use color in a manner that really speaks to their heart.

Loopy: We love the Tool Box Collection! So beautiful with all the colors. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Debbi: My favorite part of the design process has to be the brainstorming for the design. I love to see an idea come to life and it’s great to collaborate with Marcy on this. I don’t really have a not-so-favorite part, unless you count the ripping out we have to do from time to time when things aren’t just right. But the end result of the the ripping back is usually worth it!

Marcy: I love the creative process with Debbi; talking about what the yarn could be, what it wants to be, and all the little design elements. It’s great being able to bounce ideas off each other and talk about construction techniques and always have a sounding board. All the computer work is definitely lower down on my list. It’s necessary and rewarding when it’s done but I’d rather be knitting.

Loopy: It is so fun to see an idea come to life especially when you can work on a project together. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Debbi: Beside being a wife, mother and grandmother which keeps me really busy, I am a knitting teacher. I teach at various conferences around the country as well as local yarn store. I am also partners with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in a business called Strung Along. We hold knitting retreats three times each year where we teach and have a great time!

Marcy: My primary job is mother to 4 teenagers. I’m fortunate in that I can always bring a knitting project with me to games and waiting at appointments. The downside is you can’t knit and drive and my gauge is usually affected when I let the teens drive me. It’s a juggling act as are most things in life.

Loopy: Yes, it’s a bummer we can knit and drive! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Debbi: The beauty of this business is that I (we – Marcy and I) can devote as much or as little time to this as we want. We each live pretty busy lives so when one of us is up to our eyeballs in alligators the other can step in and take care of things. It’s a great way to collaborate.

Marcy: Working with Debbi as my partner makes it much easier to balance family responsibilities and the knitting design business. It’s great to have somebody who is willing to pick up the slack when your life implodes and knowing that you do the same for them. We both have the same goals and that’s another part of what makes Adventure Du Jour Designs work.

Loopy: That flexibility is such a great component of designing. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Debbi: Both of my daughters know how to knit. I taught them when they were younger. But they are both pretty busy with their young family and their careers. Anything that they might want knitted comes from my needles. My oldest granddaughter, Paytan, will be learning to knit this summer when she spends time at our house!

Marcy: I taught each of my three daughters to knit as they’ve grown up. Though none of them actively knit, I’m hopeful they will in the future. I need somebody to help me use up my stash! My daughters and son are all intrigued by fiber pursuits of spinning, weaving and are grateful for the occasional hand knit gifts. As 2 prepare to leave for college, I should probably begin to think about school color blankets!

Loopy: How special they all know how to knit. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Debbi: I love the outdoors and living in the Pacific Northwest we have the best of everything. We are 90 minutes from the ocean and a couple of hours from the mountains. I also love to travel and we usually have a big trip planned each year. This year’s trip is to Ireland where I know I’ll be getting a lot of inspiration for design.

Marcy: I enjoy an active lifestyle. I like the outdoors and all the seasonal activities associated with each. Walking, running, biking, kayaking, golfing, hiking and in our New England winters snowshoeing and, the occasional skiing. Debbi started a group called Scamper 200 that is comprised of women who encourage each other in staying active and healthy. It’s great to have a support system outside of family whether in knitting or activities. I also love photography.

Loopy: Sounds like wonderful days off! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Debbi: If not outside then knitting and Netflix!

Marcy: My idea of a great day off in the summertime includes getting up early, going for a long bike ride, coffee and knitting time on the deck in the sunshine and time with my husband. I would finish the day with a dinner someone else cooked and a glass of Chardonnay! Or a day in NYC exploring with Debbi…oh the fun!!!

Loopy: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Debbi: I love the mornings but I am a night owl as well. Coffee! English, and all colors, depending on what my project is!

Marcy: Morning. Coffee. English. All colors!

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Debbi: I am very lucky to be able to design with Marcy. We have a really great friendship which makes the deigning even better. We also are pretty like minded to our ideas are usually so similar that sometimes it’s a little scary! It’s a great gig to be able to work with your best friend.

Marcy: I love technology and am in awe of all the cool things it can allow you to do. Without technology and the Internet I never would have met Debbi 10 years ago on Ravelry. She’s clear across the country and yet an integral part of my daily life.

Debbi and Marcy have given us a 20% off coupon code off a single pattern good for 2 weeks from today! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a pattern from Adventure Du Jour’s Design Store.

If you’re looking for solid colors for Debbi and Marcy’s patterns, we’d recommend Uncommon Thread, Knerd String Fingering, Loopy Solid Series, Rosy Green Wool, Seven Sisters Arts Meridian Fingering, and Wollmeise!

Designer Spotlight: Tiny Owl Knits

Today, we have the owner of Tiny Owl Knits, Stephanie. We love all of her designs! You may have seen her patterns Beekeeper’s Quilt, Some Cloudy Day, Hopsalots, or Orchids & Fairy Lights.

Loopy: Thanks so much for joining us today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Stephanie: Around 14 years ago I got a job at a yarn shop. However, I didn’t know how to knit! I was hired as a crochet teacher and that was all I knew how to do. My first day on the job I had to help tons of people with knitting questions and I even had to help put a sweater together! It was a very steep learning curve. I went home that night and crammed the entire ‘stitch n bitch’ book into my head.

Loopy: Oh my – what a crazy first day! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Stephanie: I love felting things, so anything I can shrink. Also I love colorwork, sweaters, SOCKS!, wristees.. um.. maybe I should just stop here before I list everything. OH! animals! I love knitting animals, stuffees, shapes.. I like knitting things with structure.

Loopy: It is always fun to see the end product of felting! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Stephanie: That is a good question. I feel like every new skill has been a little challenging at first. But I’d have to say the first time I tried to knit a sock was probably the time when I went the most insane. It was after work, and I was knitting a toe-up sock with heavy metal dpns and tiny yarn and I got super frustrated and freaked out. I could literally NOT do it. I ended up in actual tears and threw the wad of junk behind my bed and it stayed there I think until I moved. Now I love knitting them. I’m addicted to them!

Loopy: Sometimes it’s best to just set something aside for a bit. I’m glad you were able to get going on socks again! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Stephanie: At first when I started working at the shop I didn’t know how to read patterns. I would take yarn home and make things up. When I would get to work everyone would ask how I did it, but I had no idea. The wise owls that worked at the shop taught me, (forced me) to write them down. It was kind of funny because I really didn’t want to write patterns because it took too much patience! There were times when my bosses and co-workers would literally sit me down at a table and put the paper and pen in my hand. Then they would kind of walk me through the process and push me along. I was not super willing. But then I really did grow to love it. I got a lot more organized… and patient… and now again, addicted!

Loopy: I’m sensing a theme 😉  Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Stephanie: I probably wear “Midsummer Night’s Dream” the most. But I do love the faery wings.

Loopy: It’s a cute hat! What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Stephanie: Favorite is wearing it as soon as I’ve finished it! Not so favorite is probably yarn hunting or photoshoots.

Loopy: The best part about finishing a project is wearing it right away. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Stephanie: I had a pretty fun music career for a while. I was living in England and touring and putting out records. But now I’m back in the US and a full time mommy to my sweet little boy Woodson. I knit and write patterns while he naps! My mom and I also have a flea market booth. We do a lot of antiquing and thrift store junking together.

Loopy: It’s fun you have been involved in so many creative type of projects. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Stephanie: My mom taught me how to crochet when I was little and she still does quite a bit of fiber work. Lots of super gorgeous afghans come from her direction. She uses beautiful wool and they are really classic and elegant.

Loopy: I hope you’ve been the recipient of at least one of her elegant afghans! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Stephanie: I love making the house beautiful and creating sacred space. I love making essential oil blends and lotions. I do a little working with other fibers, and sewing. I’m also pretty obsessed with books and collecting books on certain subjects. Also video games. Is video games a hobby? I’m an indoor cat.

Loopy: Video games definitely count. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Stephanie: We like to head up into the mountains for a bit, then come down and have lunch at the Bohemian Biergarten. Then home to sit on the deck with friends and family around the fire. Of course there would be a little knitting in there too.

Loopy: It sounds like a lovely day. Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Stephanie: Night person, coffee, both – (I like the way English feels, but I’m so much faster with Continental and have so many patterns I’m trying to finish that Continental usually wins,) solids. 😀

Loopy: Interesting! Not many people can do both interchangeably. Anything else you’d like to add?

Stephanie: I’d like to encourage people to not be afraid of knitting! When I was working at the shop, so many of our customers were super afraid of trying new things, or afraid they would mess up. I was kind of on a mission to take the fear out of knitting. Be afraid of bears or jumping out of airplanes, but never be afraid of your knitting! 😀

Stephanie has given us a 20% coupon code good from today until January 5th! You can use the code HOOTS for a discount on a single pattern from Stephanie’s design store.

Designer Spotlight: Virginia Sattler-Reimer

We have Virginia Sattler-Reimer joining us today for our Designer Spotlight. You may have seen her beautiful designs such as 21 Color Slouch, Mora Pearl Cowl, Alice’s Capelet, and Extra Quick and Easy Scarf.

Loopy: Thanks so much for being here! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Virginia: I learned from my mom when I was kid, and probably managed a few inches of garter stitch, but in 2001 I really got obsessed! I had some students in my yoga class from Denmark who always wore these amazing fair isle socks and I was just so completely taken with them. When they told me they had made them, like it was no big deal, I was stunned! That’s what drove me to really learn how to knit and to knit socks. The rest is history…

Loopy: How fun to be inspired by your students. What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Virginia: In some ways it’s whatever I’m going to knit next, but I admit that any fair isle accessory is total joy for me.

Loopy: Fair Isle is beautiful so I can see why you enjoy it. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Virginia: That’s a tough one.. Well, my first Bohus sweater, Forest Darkness was challenging for being mostly black yarn on size 2.5mm needles… or Chestnut Crescent by the incredible Kieran Foley, his patterns are a lot of fun to knit, but I worked it as a MKAL when it first came out, and that aspect of this one made picking colors tricky. Really what I love most about knitting is that there is always more to learn—about color or a new skill or technique or finishing… Even a simple project can offer you a chance to learn something new, or think about something in a new way.

Loopy: Very true! There’s always something to learn about. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Virginia: I think I started designing right away, trying new things and figuring out how to make what I had in my mind. I kept a lot of notes when I was a newer knitter, and I made a lot of experiments. I started publishing in early 2014.

Loopy: It’s so fun you started right away. I imagine it might have helped you learn as well. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Virginia: Another hard question! Well, I wear my Mora Pearl Cowl all the time, it’s a very practical little luxury around my neck! I’m also quite fond of the combination of colors in my Deco Dots Mittens, but then I like the mix of cables and lace in Wild Oak Socks… Hard to pick a favorite!

Loopy: It really is, but we always like to ask 🙂  What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Virginia: I love playing with the yarn, thinking about what it wants to be, and how to make the most of it. Playing with color. Figuring out the puzzle of how to make an idea work elegantly in a particular project. I don’t really love taking the photos, especially when I have to model!

Loopy: Coming up with the pattern is definitely just like a puzzle. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Virginia: Yes, I have been a yoga instructor for 21 years!  I also do some professional test and sample knitting, so I wear a few different hats.

Loopy: It’s fun you’re able to do a few different things. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard?

Virginia: I think of knitting as my “day job” and my yoga classes as my evening work. They compliment each other well, balancing physical activity with my couch sitting and the social and time alone. Because I love both jobs I’m almost always doing one or the other.

Loopy: It sounds like the perfect balance. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Virginia: My grandmother was a crocheting maniac, and I think I get a lot of my creative drive from her. I spent a lot of time with her when I was young and we were always making something together. We’d make little dolls from clothespins, or cut up old greeting cards for collage, always thinking about what we could make out of this or that ordinary thing. My mother was talented at many textile arts, and her “I could make that” attitude rubbed off on all her kids, a gift I am frequently grateful for.  My husband can knit (but doesn’t much) and spin, and is a talented needle felter, so between the two of us our house seems to be all about wool, all the time!  

Loopy: Our houses are pretty all wool too! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Virginia: I really love stitching stuff, but I’m a beginner, so I’m trying to improve my embroidery skills. I also love to read, hike, kayak, plan projects and collect yarn. (those are hobbies, right?) 🙂

Loopy: Definitely hobbies! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Virginia: A morning hike somewhere beautiful, then curl up with a fresh knitting project using a bowl full of a whole bunch of colors! I’d end the day with a nice meal with my sweetie and a glass of wine!

Loopy: I like the sound of your day off! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Virginia: Morning. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. English. Solids. (all of them!)

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Virginia: Thank you so much for having me!

Virginia has given us a 20% coupon code good from today until December 22! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a single pattern from Virginia’s Design Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight: Åsa Tricosa

We have Åsa Tricosa joining us today! You may have seen her pattern Non Troppo floating around on Ravelry lately – understandably so as it’s a beautiful 2+ color shawl! Semele, Tiong Bahru, Simple Ziggurat, and Mysteriosa MKAL are some of her most popular patterns as well.

Loopy: Thanks so much for joining us today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Åsa: Knitting and knitting off piste – making stuff up – has been a constant companion since from the time I could walk. Almost. Like many lifelong knitters I was taught by my crafty and patient “mormor” (Swedish for grandmother). She was also meticulous and precise. Which I am too. When it comes to knitting. Only.

Loopy: We all have things we’re more meticulous about! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Åsa: Unsurprisingly, Ziggurat sweaters. I get a kick out of the first few steps each time I cast on; to see the sculpted shoulders take shape is exciting each and every time. So… I tend to cast on a lot. I’m a bit obsessed by sweaters as I’m working out the final bits on my Ziggurat Book. It’s a lot more work than I had ever imagined…

I do long to get back to some shawl ideas that have been percolating in my mind for a good long while, too. Oh, and gloves! I love gloves. So neat, so quick, so many possibilities for playing around.

Loopy: Shawls, gloves, and sweaters – we can get behind all of those things. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Åsa: The Ja Ja Jacket Because I had to learn double-knitting on the spot and to invent suitable buttonholes through double knitted fabric as I went along. And I really love this jacket – wherefore I have another version of it up my sleeve. ATB (After The Book).

Loopy: Impressive you learned as you designed! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Åsa: Designing or making stuff up? Making stuff up was always a part of knitting. And coming up with solutions of my own — they may very well have already existed but I just like figuring things out and still do, such as finding sneaky ways of starting or ending things on a sideways shawl. I think many knitters do just that. If by “designing” we mean producing graded, edited and test-knitted patterns for fellow knitters to use, well, that snuck into my life while I was spending years not finishing a PhD. And then it simply took over.

Loopy: I love that you were always making stuff up. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Åsa: Difficult to pick just one. Sorry! Simple Ziggurat for sure. Stripes Ahoy! too. The sweater I wear most of them all is Filijokus — not knitted by as many knitters as some of my other patterns, but Filijokus just fits me perfectly and is knitted in a somewhat lofty yarn and I love wearing it. I need to knit another one or two…
Non troppo wrap for its simple asymmetry and strrrrripes.

For fun and for kids I love the not very popular Marja-Stina — the details are just so… perfect, if I may say so. It can be a bit finicky but one can choose an easier more plain option, too. There’s a DK version called Stina that is available against a voluntary donation to p/hop (Pennies per hour of pleasure — the proceeds go to MSF/Doctors without Borders).

Oh and my gloves, too! Io and Mio gloves. Shawls… Mysteriosa. Semele, one of my very first is still my most popular design — maybe it’s telling me something… But really, just now it’s Funnel Thing – a casual sweater in a heavy lace weight yarn from The Uncommon Thread It’s not out yet. It will feature in my Ziggurat Book.

Loopy: All of those look beautiful! What is your favorite part of designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Åsa: May I list three favourite things, please? I get a kick out of fellow knitters’ interpretations of my designs, especially when they’ve added a detail from another pattern or from their own head. Their clever colour choices always make me want to knit more versions for myself, too. And I looooove if one of my tutorials or patterns have helped a knitter discover a new or different way of doing something. Or that they now can knit sweaters that properly fit them.

So, what spurs me is figuring out little details, such as built-in single-layer pockets or an integrated tuck, working out ways to not have to cut or join new yarn more than absolutely necessary. Sometimes a tiny adjustment can bring utter joy.

Playing with colours and textures – the fantastic yarns dyed by incredible women bring me joy. Every day. I can’t quite believe I get to do this every day. Such a luxury. One of my favourite collaborations is the ongoing one with the dyeing genius (and very funny) Claudia of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise.

Not so favourite: Finding typos and little errors after several rounds of tech edit, proofreading, test knitting. That said, as designing is often a rather lonely pursuit I like collaborating with tech editors and translators. Other collaborators who are invaluable not only for making the patterns better but keeping me sane are the test and sample knitters. Without whom my work would never be up to scratch.

Loopy: I think most of us have pure joy when we have less yarn to weave in 🙂  Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Åsa: Nope. But I do know how to do many things so in pinch I’d probably still be able to be a somewhat useful waitress, copy editor, index creator. Or not…

Loopy: Always nice to have an option B if needed! But we’ll keep you busy designing for as long as possible Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Åsa: More than full time. And yes it is hard. And fun. I’d love to say I’m a successful, independent crafter and designer who supports myself just with my designs, but that would be a big lie. I have the luxury of sharing my life with a generous partner.

Loopy: We’re all glad you’re able to design so much. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Åsa: Not anymore. My mother would if she could but her hands are rendered unusable for most things by arthritis. My man is not a knitter, no. (My family lives in Sweden. My man is Danish. We live in Germany — and have lived in the US, the UK, and here and there.)

Loopy: It’s fun you’ve been able to experience different cultures. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Åsa: Baking bread. I take my sourdough starter along to Scotland during our stays there… Reading. And yes, I can knit (plain) and read at the same time. Luckily. Or were you talking of hobbies as in making things? I’m firmly avoiding any ventures into other tempting textile or fibre crafts – and there are some that are seriously tempting. I’d love to learn book binding, too. But there aren’t even enough hours in the day for knitting.

Loopy: So true. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Åsa: Baroque music, opera — listening to, not singing. Classical concert. Good eats. Stadtbummeln (strolling through town, any town or city) with H. I’d fit in some frivolous knitting, too.

Loopy: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Åsa: Night. A glass of leggy Willamette Pinot Noir — oh, in the morning? Then, Earl Grey. (OK, so I never drink Willamette Pinot Noir anymore as it is from Oregon and I now live in a culinary desert on another continent, but if I could, I would). Continental. Semi-solids

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Åsa: Knit with abandon!

Åsa has given us a 20% coupon code good from today until December 8! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a single pattern from Åsa’s Designs.